I’m rather a bit of a David Carr fan. Smart, witty (as opposed to funny) and a keenly observant man and good writer.
Grrrrrr, but by now the news that Fareed Zakaria escaped being accused along with Jonah Lehrer for Crimes of the Plagiarism Kind is old news.
But what is new news, to me at least, is that Mr. Carr thinks far less of himself and far more of Mr. Lehrer than I do, and I’m bothered by his assessment of the situationa, as in:
So are he (Lehrer) and I in the same business? Not by a long shot. He is smarter than I will ever be, and has written three best sellers while being paid thousands of dollars for speaking engagements. The other difference? I never made up quotes, lied about it and resigned in disgrace, as Mr. Lehrer recently did. (I say that with zero malice and a knowledge that pointing a crooked finger can backfire). – David Carr
Someone please tell me when making up quotes, lying about it and resigning in disgrace qualifies as “smart?” Or is Carr talking about Lehrer having written three best sellers and being paid thousands of dollars in speaking engagements? Why does that qualify Lehrer as being smart? But I’m not going to nitpick those points, because my proof that Carr’s analysis of himself is incorrect is this statement:
I once lost a job I dearly wanted because I had misspelled the name of the publisher of the publication I was about to go to work for. Not very smart, but I learned a brutal lesson that has stayed with me. Nobody ever did that for Mr. Lehrer, even after repeated questions were raised about his work. – David Carr
Had Lehrer a shred of Carr’s respect, either for himself, or for the craft of writing/journalism/reporting/blogging he would not have had to resign from The New Yorker in the first place.
Over and over again I read, not only in Carr’s article, but everywhere else, beliefs about journalism online, such as Post and Post Often, You Are Only As Good (or Visible) as Your Last Post, the Voracious Appetite of the Internet for Endless Content Makes People Lose Their Integrity.
I beg to differ. The voracious appetite of the Internet does not make people do anything they wouldn’t have done to begin with.
Every day someone tells me I should post more often. I could, I suppose, but there are limits on my time and if I wanted to obey the dictum, I could just post stuff. I choose not to do that.
I think people who want to “make it” often have a perilous decision to face. It sometimes involves a willingness to say No. Not a word that any of us like to invoke when we want to be employed and earn a pay check.
But not saying No sometimes leads to all sorts of problems, such as Lehrer’s.
I have a theory that things always happen in threes. Today, Director Tony Scott (very sad) died and so did Phyllis Diller. There will be another soon.
And there were the Jonah Lehrer and (almost) Fareed Zakaria (whom I like) plagiarism stories. Whose will be the next sketchy journalism story?